Conference vs. Training for Administrative Professionals: What’s The Difference?

Conference speaker presenting her session on stage to hundreds of assistants

With the plethora of offerings for administrative training and development, there needs to be more clarity about which course, conference, or training is the best option for you. There is an abundance of different terminology, which can leave you needing more explanation about which is which. Further, you may feel stuck as to where you or your company should invest in. 

I’d like to help you understand the key distinguishing factors between the two so you can stop asking yourself, “What is the difference between an administrative conference and administrative training?” The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to know your main professional goals. A training course and a conference each present unique features, with some crossover in what they offer as well. So then, keep in mind that both are beneficial, but they are not precisely the same.

Something to remember is that typically, if you want to dig deep into administrative training content and practice the skills you are learning, a training course or workshop may be the best option. The smaller the class, the more attention you get from the trainer, thus leading to longer-term behavior change. However, something to also keep in mind is that a conference will provide training as well, just in different settings and with different learning outcomes.

The Key Features of a Conference and a Training Course

When choosing an administrative conference or training, choose wisely with your goals in mind. To figure out what your professional goals are, here are a few questions to answer:

  • Will my career or learning goals benefit from having a certification?
  • Do I want to niche down and become an expert in a specific topic?
  • Are you looking to network and make lasting connections with others in your industry?
  • Do you desire a more broad approach, with insights and trends into multiple topics related to your industry?
  • Does your company have multiple team members who could also benefit and grow deeper camaraderie from attending a conference together?
  • What are my budget constraints?
  • Am I able to travel, or do I need something I can attend from home?

Once you have answered these questions, you will have a better foundation for deciding whether a conference or training course is suited to meet your professional goals. Some of the key features of an administrative conference and administrative training are outlined in the chart below so you can easily understand the differences and similarities between both.

Administrative Conference Administrative Training
Delivered live with an audience in the same room (may be streamed or recorded).
Interaction with the audience is possible, but it may be more difficult to receive individual attention.
Audience interaction is possible and often easier to obtain for each attendee.
Networking is available and highly personable, with 100-2,000+ people to interact with.
Networking is available with a small, intimate group, but there may not be dedicated networking time.
Team-building: Depends on the conference host if they conduct any activities for this (Office Dynamics always conducts an educational, fun team-building activity the first day of our event).
Team-building activities vary but can be more abundant if the course is offered virtually or in person.
Several speakers present on different subjects related to a similar industry.
Usually, 1 or 2 experts facilitate the training and niche down into their expertise.
Attendees range from 100-2,000+.
Usually, training classes are limited to 25-30 attendees so the facilitator can give adequate attention to students.
Skill practice: may vary depending on the conference, but usually, there is little to none.
A strong course will include homework assignments and in-person activities so you can actively practice what you are learning.
Most conferences set a time for social and extracurricular activities to provide an enriching experience.
Additional activities unrelated to the course material are usually not provided.
General and/or concurrent sessions are usually provided.
Typically, there is only one main session attended by all participants.
Held in various cities or countries that could require travel.
Could require travel for in-person training, but there are usually virtual options that don’t require travel.
Comprehensive learning materials should be and usually are always provided.
A conference will usually have exhibitors so you can enhance your network and learn about helpful tools.
Usually, there are no exhibitors in a training course.

In Conclusion: Conference or a Training Course?

If you took the time to answer the above questions and read over the comparison chart, hopefully, you now have a better understanding of whether a training course or a conference is better suited to your needs. To summarize, here are a few points to keep in mind:

Training Course

  • If you desire training in a niche subject area, want to potentially earn a certification, would like to learn by completing hands-on assignments, and desire more individualized attention, a training course may be better for you.

Conference

  • If you are interested in an experience that could require travel, generalized training in multiple topics, robust networking, and extracurricular activities, a conference may be your best fit.

Solutions Provided by Office Dynamics

Every year, Office Dynamics hosts The Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, a powerful conference that provides cutting-edge speakers, immense networking opportunities, and intimate learning opportunities in the heart of Las Vegas. We also have robust training courses for administrative professionals and executive assistants, covering topics that include human skills in the age of AI, digital skills, and in-depth training for executive assistants who desire to go above and beyond. We see the value in each of these offerings, which is why we have dedicated our company to creating both courses and conferences to enhance the careers of administrative professionals around the world.

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Office Dynamics International
5575 S. Durango Dr. Ste. 106
Las Vegas, NV 89113
Priscilla Pfeiffer

Priscilla Pfeiffer

Speaker | Entertainer | Trainer | TEDx Speaker

You Don’t Matter, Or Do You?

In today’s fast-paced business world, the role of administrative and executive assistants is more crucial than ever in driving innovation and positive change within organizations. However, a common pitfall is that many organizations dive headfirst into radical change without first understanding the heart of the people responsible for implementing it. This dynamic keynote, which includes mesmerizing entertainment elements, will shine a light on the transformative power of seemingly insignificant actions, inspiring you to take the first step towards positioning yourself as a key catalyst to SPARK success.

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Priscilla Pfeiffer, a seasoned professional, boasts a two-decade career in entertainment and business. Her unique show business background allows her to craft mesmerizing performances, leaving enduring memories. Focused on delivering resonant and empowering messages that inspire audiences to make an impact in the world, she illuminates individuals to unlock their full potential in both personal and professional lives.

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